This new international seminar combines the Great Books, Socratic approach of the Jerusalem and Athens Forum (JAF) honors program with the emphasis of the Gordon IN Orvieto semester program of experiencing art, architecture, and literature “in situ”—in their original settings.*
Precise topics will vary from year to year, but all will explore matters addressed by thinkers and artists in the medieval/Renaissance/Reformation eras of European history. Typically, excursions will be taken to Rome, Florence, Siena, and other locations.
DECEMBER 28, 2014–JANUARY 11, 2015
The focus of the inaugural seminar in December 2014–January 2015 will be on the virtues of individual character, civic duty, and community life in Medieval and Renaissance Europe.
October 15, 2014
Students: $3,500 (includes 4 credits tuition)
Adult Learners: $2,500
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James Arcadi has taught history and theology at Gordon College since 2008, and is currently completing his doctorate at the University of Bristol (UK) in systematic and philosophic theology. He was ordained in the Anglican Diocese in New England in 2009, and is assisting clergy at Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Danvers, MA.
Ph.D (cand.) University of Bristol
Th.M Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
M.Div. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
B.A. Biola University
John Skillen is currently Associate Dean of European Programs and Director of the Studio for Art, Faith, and History at Gordon College. He was the medieval and Renaissance specialist in the English department before inaugurating the Gordon IN Orvieto program in 1998. Professor Skillen's interests are broadly in the arts and cultural history, and the renewed relevance of moments in early European culture for the conditions of our present. He is also the founder and co-director of the annual Festival of Art & Faith held in Orvieto, Italy each June.
Ph.D. Duke University
B.A. Gordon College
The Seminar opens up to a wider circle of students and alumni and adult learners the theme that gives the Jerusalem and Athens Forum honors program its name: “What has Jerusalem to do with Athens, the Church with the Academy?” Posed by the early church father Tertullian in his defense of Christianity addressed to the pagans, this “enduring question,” as philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff titles an influential essay, “remains as much alive today as it was in 198 A.D. when Tertullian posed it. It is not one of those questions which the Christian community has settled and from there gone on to other matters. It remains an enduring question for the Christian academic,” or, we might add, for all thoughtful Christians trying to discriminate among those elements of their own age’s culture and world-view that are, or are not, compatible with the claims of Christian faith.
Each January this seminar will allow Tertullian’s question to frame an in situ (in the original context) study of one or more of the perennial topics addressed by classical and Christian thinkers and artists in the medieval/Renaissance/early modern period of European history–topics that persisted through the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries of the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation.
The focus of the seminar will vary, but some questions that might be taken up include:
Readings and discussions will be informed and enriched by the art and architecture in locations in and around Orvieto. Primary sources will vary from year to year, but will draw on such works as Plato’s Republic and Symposium, Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, Cicero’s On Duties, Augustine’s Confessions and On Christian Doctrine, Benedict’s Rule, Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Chaucer’s Parson’s Tale, The Dialogues of Catherine of Siena, Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier, and Machiavelli’s The Prince, Pico della Mirandola’s Oration on the Dignity of Man, Michel de Montaigne’s Essays, Sebastian Brandt’s Ship of Fools, Erasmus’ In Praise of Folly, Thomas More’s Utopia, Thomas a Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ.
A trip theme will be chosen annually. Travel dates, sites to be visited, and course texts will be chosen in accordance with this theme and the instructor's academic and scholarly interests, and will be listed in the course syllabus.